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Asus s1 led projector review

rajan1311

Padawan
Introduction

Who doesn't like large screens? They are great for movies, games and at times even productivity. Projectors are nothing new, they have been around for decades, but were mostly limited to auditoriums and offices. One of the main reasons they did not go mainstream till recently is because of their initial cost, large size, expensive lamps and yeah, they ran hot.

Things are a lot different now. Projectors have gotten much smaller, cheaper and efficient. Projectors with LED lamps boast almost 30,000 hours of lamp life, which is plenty for an average user.

Today we will be taking a deeper look at the tiny, palm sized Asus S1 Projector, which is an entry level projector from Asus. Here are some of the features of the projector:

  • High Capacity Power Bank - 6000mAh built-in power bank
  • Easy Connectibity Via HDMI
  • LED Lamp with a life of 30,000 hours
  • Beautiful and Durable Design

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Specifications

If your a geek, a lot of the stuff above really does not matter to you. What you probably want to know is this:

  • Native Resolution: 854x480px
  • Light Output(max): 200 Lumens
  • Projection/Screen size: 30″ to 100″
  • Zoom Ratio: Fixed
  • Speakers: 2W x1
  • Connectivity: HDMI, USB (power output, for charging ext. devices), Earphone out
  • Dimensions(WxHxD): 4.35″x1.2″x4″
  • Built-in Battery Backup: Yes, 6000mAh
  • Connectivity: HDMI in, USB (for charging), 3.5mm headphone jack


So that’s the specifications. Lets move to the actual product.

Package and Bundle

The projector comes in a fair sized box, with its image in front and a brief of its features at the back.

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Immediately on opening up, you see this tiny case, which what was shockingly the actual projector. I had seen its images before, but never thought it would be this small!

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Underneath, you have a compartment with a carry case, a short HDMI-HDMI cable, an MHL-HDMI cable, a USB to micro USB cable and charger with various socket options.

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With the projector out, lets take a close look.

A Closer Look

Like mentioned earlier, the projector itself is very small and highly portable. Its easy to carry along on a holiday or anywhere else. The projector has a very solid build and the metallic brush finish gives it a very premium look.

On the top we have 4 buttons for controlling the menu and its navigation. We also have 2 LEDs for power and a battery charging indicator.

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In the front we have a shutter that protects the actual projector lenses from dust.

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On the side we have a mechanism to adjust the projector focus. This is pretty much the only image adjust we can do, there is no zoom or keystone correction in this projector.

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Now looking at the rear, where all the ports are, we have an 3.5 mm headphone out, an HDMI port(in), a USB charging port, the power connector and the power switch.

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On the underside we have a mounting point for tripods.

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Overall I am very pleased with the design. It feels solid and very premium. Its extremely small and light, which makes it carrying it to work or on a holiday easy.

Performance

Now lets take a look at how the projector actually performs. For the Asus S1, I will mainly be talking about the overall picture and sound quality.

Picture Quality

Lets first look at the brightness as I am sure this will be of primary concern for most. At 200 Lumens, you should not expect it to work well in outdoor or well lit conditions. The projector requires a dark or at least a dimly lit room. Now, it should be noted that the brightness is much lower when it is running on battery as compared to when it is plugged in, but it is still sufficient for a decent experience. I tried to capture the difference in brightness between the two modes. The ISO and exposure was kept constant while taking the photos.

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Btw, that’s about a 100″ screen.

Next up are the colors. The colors are definitely not its strong suit. Images felt washed out, a lot of scenes in movies felt very ‘grey’ and is definitely noticeable by even those who are not very picky about it.

Finally, the last talking point is the resolution. The projector has a native resolution of 854×480 pixels, which is pretty low. It works fine for movies and presentations (w/o small text) but if you are trying to use it for some browsing or reading some small text, it does get a little difficult specially for larger projection sizes(~100 inches in my case).

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Sound Quality

The projector has a 2W speaker, so not much to talk about here. It is better than most phones and laptop speakers and does a decent job if you are siting close and the room is not too large.

Battery Life

I did not do an exact battery burn test, but I did manage to watch a 2 hour 30 minute movie on the battery mode, which is pretty much in line with what asus claims and something that adds even more value to the projector.

Features and OSD Menu

Lets take a quick look at all the OSD menu options on the asus S1.

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  • Volume – Projector volume settings (range: 0-10).
  • Brightness – Projector image brightness (range: 0-10)
  • Contrast – Projector image contrast (range: 0-10)
  • Splendid – These are picture modes that differ when the projector is either on battery mode or when connected to the power outlet.
    When on battery, the options are:
    1. Battery Mode: Low power mode for longer battery life.
    2. Presentation Mode: Slightly higher brightness with an estimated lifespan of 90 minutes.
    When connected to the power outlet, the options are:
    1. Standard: For general purpose, default setting.
    2. Theater: Recommended for video purpose. Brightness was slightly reduced in this mode.
  • Aspect Ratio – Projector display aspect ratio (Options: Auto, 4:3, 16:9)
  • Projector Position – Lets you change the way the image is projected based on the location of your projector (Options: Front table, Rear ceiling, Front ceiling, Rear table).
  • Setup – Lets you switch OSD language and reset settings.
  • Information – Displays information such as projector name, firmware version, input device resolution and current input source.

Bonus Feature:

As already mentioned, the Asus S1 is not only a projector, but also doubles up as a power bank. Turns out, reading the manual has its benefits. Hidden away in the 50 pages of the manual is a fun feature that turns the projector into a flash light or even a emergency light signal(strobe). This can be done by repeatedly pressing the Splendid key when the projector is in battery.

The Verdict:

The Asus S1 LED projector has done a lot of things right. Its small, light, very well built and has a decent lamp with a long life. Even with certain caveats with respect to its image quality, I still think its a wonderful product mainly because the overall experience you get, say, when you watch a movie, is far far better than what you would get on a mobile, laptop or even a small TV. Features such as a built-in power bank and flash light are a great bonus and would be of great utility to those who are on the move. At a price of around $300 in the US or Rs 28,000 in india, its pretty much the only player out there and is a good buy for anyone who is looking for a quick and cheap solution to home entertainment. I’ll give it an easy 7/10.

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You can find the original review at: Asus S1 LED Projector Review | Tech Verdict
 

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